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Hospital gets award for diabetes management program

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Henry Medical Center's (HMC) Diabetes Self-Management Education Program is garnering national attention.

HMC earned the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Education Recognition Certificate for the program in June, according to Michelle Nunnally, public relations specialist for the hospital.

The ADA's certificate assures that Henry Medical Center's educational program meets the national standards for diabetes self-management education programs, said Nunnally. The standards were developed and tested under the authority of the National Diabetes Advisory Board in 1983, and were revised by the diabetes community in 1994 and 2000, she said.

Hospital programs apply for recognition, voluntarily, Nunnally said. Those that achieve recognition status have a staff of knowledgeable health professionals able to provide comprehensive information about diabetes management, she continued.

Nunnally said the hospital's program was originally recognized with a certificate in June of 2004. Education recognition status is verified by an official certificate from the ADA, and is awarded for three years, she said.

According to the ADA, 20.8 million people, or 7 percent, of the population in the United States have diabetes, Nunnally said. While an estimated 14.6 million have been diagnosed, 6.2 million people are not aware they have the disease, she added.

The patients, who attend the program's classes, are monitored afterward for three to six months, to ensure they are meeting the personal, health-related goals they set for themselves during the classes, said Tessie Saethang, HMC director of education.

"The standards are very rigorous. We have to show evidence-based outcome," said Saethang.

The benefits of recognition by the ADA are twofold, she said. "The process gives professionals a national standard by which to measure the quality of services they provide. And, it offers reassurance to our community that they can expect to receive high-quality service."

The latest award marks the third time HMC has received the certificate, she said. "It's really like an accreditation from the American Diabetes Association," she added.